Driving Nurse Retention: 3 Reasons You Need A Better Nurse Learning and Development Program

It’s never been harder for hospitals and home health organizations to retain their nursing staff — and nurses who aren’t happy with their situation have more opportunities at their disposal.

Providing better nurse learning and development opportunities is a great way for healthcare leaders to bolster their staff retention strategy. But how can healthcare leaders build a bridge between L&D and actually meaningful results?

L&D is never a one-size-fits-all approach; CNOs and healthcare executives have to make sure they’re implementing the right type of learning opportunities.

The right learning and development can have a variety of benefits:

  • helping your nursing staff to meet their career goals;
  • showing your nurses that you’re invested in their career and personal development; and, ultimately
  • higher retention rates, which translates to reduced travel nurse spending.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the relationship between personalized L&D and nurse retention:

How L&D Opportunities Increase Retention

Most hospitals and health organizations do a great job at training their nurses for the technical topics they’ll handle in bedside care: medication management, EMR charting, wound care, patient communiction, holistic wellbeing, etc. This type of training is essential and should continue as planned.

What they’re not so great at? In many cases, it’s the things nurses want the most.

In the BrettonTrova team’s decades of combined healthcare staffing experience, we’ve noticed that many nurses feel they’re missing a different type of training: upskilling and leadership training. Some might call this “soft skill training,” but these types of lessons can be incredibly valuable. They can have a profound effect on nurse satisfaction, morale and development within your organization:

1.) Upskilling your nurses

We all know the reasons that nurses might leave their organizations. They most likely felt burned out or found themselves constantly facing situations they weren’t prepared for.

These issues are common when organizations don’t have enough full-time staff to meet patient needs: only 24% of RNs feel that their units have the right number of nurses with the right knowledge and skills most of the time.

Leaders at hospitals and home health organizations must be more proactive in addressing that discomfort head-on. Lessons and modules such as “using emotional intelligence to get ahead” or “how to effectively provide feedback” can give nurses confidence when they face new situations. Confidence spurs better performance, which leads to greater job satisfaction.

2.) Put nurses in the “driver’s seat” of their career development

If nurses feel “stuck” or limited from a career growth standpoint, there’s a good chance they’re looking for a new job.

Workers in nearly every profession are seeking out opportunities for upskilling, which involves teaching employees new skills to help them with performance and career growth. A Gallup poll shows that 65% of workers believe employer-provided upskilling is an essential factor when evaluating a potential new job.

Nursing leaders should start by asking their staff directly: What type of skills would you like to learn? How can we help prepare you for the next step in your career?

Empowering your nurses to take an active role in their development shows that you’re invested in helping them grow — in the specific areas that capture their interest.

3.) Recruiting from within for leadership positions

Nurse manager and leadership turnover is one of the more damaging things for a hospital or home health org. The absence of senior roles such as charge nurse, nurse manager or department director is detrimental because:

  • these roles are difficult (and often expensive) to fill; and
  • operating without these roles leaves junior nurses without on-the-job mentors and role models.

Just 11% of nurses plan to pursue nurse leadership, and the main reasons for this aversion include nursing politics and headaches related to staffing and scheduling. That’s a scary number. The healthcare community needs to find ways to alleviate those concerns.

Leadership and upskilling training can help current nursing leaders bolster their skill sets while simultaneously preparing the next generation of organizational leaders. Lessons such as “how to interview a nursing applicant” or “how to prepare a staffing schedule” can help educate junior nurses on the skills they need to eventually step into a leadership role.

Resources for Nurse Learning and Development

Looking for operational expertise to help you inject more nurse learning opportunities into your organization?

BrettonTrova specializes in helping hospitals and home health organizations build sustainable staffing models. We help organizations outsource nurse recruitment and lay the groundwork for a culture that promotes retention.

Stay tuned for news about our upcoming learning and development initiatives, which are custom-built to help your organization meet the L&D needs of your staff. Reach out to our team to learn more!

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